An Automaton's Dream (2013)

for five percussionists (unpitched). duration: 5'30"

Program Notes:  One type of automaton is a small, metallic wind-up contraption from around the turn of the twentieth century in the shape of a small person.  It has a sculpted human face and features arms that, when the automaton is wound up, move through a complicated system of gears in order to perform a task for show such as drawing a picture.  When I first saw a video of one, I was struck by the pensive quality of its carefully sculpted features; as it drew its little programmed picture, it looked almost as if it were yearning for something.  "An Automaton's Dream" is a fantasy on what the automaton might dream.  The work begins in a mechanical fashion but then proceeds to explore a more impassioned world that reflects the automaton's imagined dream of being human.

Instruments Required:

Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Bongos (2), Sus. Cymbals (3), Chinese Cymbal, Log Drums (2), Timbales (2), Guiro, Two Metal Plates, Lion's Roar, Wood Blocks (3), Vibraslap, Football Ratchet, Conga Drums (3), Tenor Drum, Cowbells (2), Slapstick, Toms (3), Orchestral Cabasa, and Maracas